Kargador at Dawn

Kargador at Dawn
Work in the Vineyard

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Our Unfinished Symphony

OUR UNFINISHED SYMPHONY
Thomas Aquinas taught that “every choice is a renunciation” and that is why commitment, particularly a life-long commitment in marriage, is so difficult.
Karl Rahner famously stated: “In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable, we finally learn that here in this life all symphonies must remain unfinished.”
And those of us who are old enough remember the haunting line in the old Salve Regina prayer: “To thee to we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.”
What each of these captures, in essence, is that in this life there is not such a thing as clear-cut pure joy and that we will live more peacefully and happily if we can accept that and not put false pressure on life, on our loves ones, and on God, to give us the full symphony right now.
Every day of their lives, my parents prayed words to the effect that, this side of eternity, they were “mourning and weeping in a valley of tears”. It didn’t make them sad, morbid, or stoic. The opposite: It gave them the tools that they needed to accept life’s real limits and the real limits and imperfections within community, church, family, and marriage. They were happier for knowing and accepting that.
My worry is that today we aren’t equipping our own children in thesame way. Instead, too often, we are helping them nurse the false expectation that, if they do it right, they can have it all already in this life. All that is needed is to have the right body, the right career, the right city, the right neighborhood, the right friends, the right vacations, and the right soul mate and they can have the full symphony here and now.
It’s not to be had, and Anita Brookner’s maxim that in marriage we “cannot not disappoint each other” simply states, in secular language, that no one, no matter how good, can be God for somebody else.
To read more click here or copy this address into your browser
http://ronrolheiser.com/our-unfinished-symphony/…
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“Our life is a short time in expectation, a time in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment. There is a quality of sadness that pervades all the moments of our life. It seems that there is no such thing as a clear-cut pure joy, but that even in the most happy moments of our existence...
RONROLHEISER.COM

4th Sunday of Easter (B): Good Shepherd

Short Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Easter (B): Good Shepherd Sunday

Readings: Acts 4: 8-12; I John 3: 1-2; John 10: 11-18

Selected Passage: “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep." (John 10: 14 - 15)

Meditation: We are, indeed, called to become THAT GOOD SHEPHERD with the people entrusted to our care and service. A good shepherd defends his sheep; he protects them from danger and death; and he lays down his life for them.

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:
1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips.
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!
It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Monday, April 16, 2018

Simplifying our Spiritual Vocabulary

SIMPLIFYING OUR SPIRITUAL VOCABULARY

The struggle to forgive, I suspect, is our greatest psychological, moral, and religious struggle.  It’s not easy to forgive. Most everything inside of us protests. When we have been wronged, when we have suffered an injustice, when someone or something has treated us unfairly, a thousand physical and psychological mechanisms inside of us begin clam-up, shut-down, freeze- over, self-protect, and scream-out in protest, anger, and rage. 
Forgiveness is not something we can simply will and make happen. The heart, as Pascal once said, has its reasons. It also has its rhythms, its paranoia, its cold bitter spots, and its need to seal itself off from whatever has wounded it.
All of us have been wounded. No one comes to adulthood with his or her heart fully intact. In ways small or traumatic, we have all been treated unjustly, violated, hurt, ignored, not properly honored, and unfairly cast aside. We all carry wounds and, with those wounds, we all carry some angers, some bitterness, and some areas within which we have not forgiven.
The strength of Henri Nouwen’s greatest book, The Return of the Prodigal Son, was precisely to point out both the hidden cold places in our hearts and the mammoth struggle needed to bring warm and forgiveness to those places.
So much of the lightness or heaviness in our hearts, most every nuance of our mood, is unconsciously dictated by either the forgiveness or the non-forgiveness inside us.
Forgiveness is the deep secret to joy. It is also the ultimate imperative.

Monday, April 09, 2018

3rd Sunday of Easter (B)



Short Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Easter (B)

Readings: Acts 3: 13-15. 17-19; 1 John 2: 1-5a; Luke 24: 35-48

Selected Passage: “And he said to them, thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." (Luke 24: 45-48)

Meditation: We are, indeed, witnesses of the life, teachings and deeds of the Risen Lord.  Post Resurrection, we no longer see the physical face or look of the Risen Lord, yet we see and recognize him in good works done for the least of our brothers and sisters – food to the hungry; drink to the thirsty; clothes to the naked; visit the sick and prisoners; home to the strangers.  The disciples recognized the Risen Lord when they gave the stranger shelter and meal to the hungry. Right at the very act of breaking/sharing of the bread, they recognized the Risen Lord.


DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1.    Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2.   Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips. 
3.   Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…



Monday, April 02, 2018

2nd Sunday of Easter (B): Divine Mercy Sunday



Short Reflection for the 2nd Sunday of Easter (B): Divine Mercy Sunday

Readings: Acts 4,32-35; 1 John 5,1-6; John 20,19-31

Selected Passage: “Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." (John 20:29)

Meditation: Believing is not a question of seeing and touching.  It is a question of TRUST! We believe in the testimony of the apostles and disciples – the companions of Jesus.  They saw and believe that Jesus is truly RISEN from the dead. 

This is the faith handed over by the apostles and disciples from one generation to another. We do believe that the Resurrection of Jesus is the testimony that in the end, we, too, shall be victorious over sin and death.  The Divine Mercy Sunday proclaims the RICHNESS and the BOUNDLESS MERCY of God!


DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1.    Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2.   Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips. 
3.   Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…



Saturday, March 31, 2018

Our Inner Garment



Our Inner Garment
By Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI 2008-06-01

Many things divide us: language, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, politics, ideology, culture, personal history, temperament, private wounds, moral judgments. It is hard, in the face of all this, to see people who are different from us as brothers and sisters, as equally important citizens of this world, and as loved and valued by God in the same way we are.

And so we often live in a certain distrust of each other. Sadly too we often demonize each other, seeing danger where there is only difference. We then either actively oppose someone or simply steer clear of him or her and caution our loved ones to stay clear as well.

Consequently we live in a world in which various groups stay away from each other: liberals and conservatives, Protestants and Catholics, Jews and Arabs, Arabs and Christians, Muslims and Buddhists, black and white races, pro-life and pro-choice groups, feminists and traditionalists, among others.

What we fail to realize is that these differences are really our outer garments, things that in the end are accidental and incidental to our real selves. What’s meant by this?

We wear more than physical clothing to cover our naked selves; we cover our nakedness too with a specific ethnicity, language, religious identity, culture, political affiliation, ideology, set of moral judgments, and a whole gamut of private wounds and indignation. These are in essence our outer garments.

But we also possess a deeper inner garment. Our real substance, identity, and capacity to act with larger hearts, lies underneath. What lies beneath our outer garments?

In the Gospel of John, at the Last Supper when he is describing Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, (in a carefully worded passage) John uses these words: "Jesus knowing that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, got up from the table, took off his outer garments and, taking a towel, wrapped it around his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing." (John 13, 2-5)

When John is describing Jesus "taking off his outer garment" he means more than just the stripping off of some physical clothing, some outer sash that might have gotten in the way of his stooping down and washing someone’s feet. In order to let go of the pride that blocks all human beings from stooping down to wash the feet of someone different than oneself, Jesus had to strip off a lot of outer things (pride, moral judgments, superiority, ideology, and personal dignity) so as to wear only his inner garment.

What was his inner garment? As John poetically describes it, his inner garment was precisely his knowledge that he had come from God, was going back to God, and that therefore all things were possible for him, including his washing the feet of someone whom he already knew had betrayed him.

That is also our true inner garment, the reality that lies deeper beneath our race, gender, religion, language, politics, ideology, and personal history (with all its wounds and false pride). What is most real is that deep down, beneath these other, outer, things we nurse the dark memory, the imprint, the brand of love and truth, the inchoate knowledge that, like Jesus, we too have come from God, are returning to God, and therefore are capable of doing anything, including loving and washing the feet of someone very different from ourselves. Our inner garment is the image and likeness of God inside of us.

It is only if we realize this that our world can really change because it is only then that liberals and conservatives, pro-life and pro-choice, Catholics and Protestants, Jews and Arabs, Arabs and Christians, black people and white people, men and women, and people wounded in different ways can begin to stop demonizing each other, begin to reach across to each other, begin to feel sympathy for each other, and begin, together, to build for a common good beyond our wounds and differences.

Sometimes in our better moments we already do that. Unfortunately, generally to have one of our better moments it usually takes a great sadness, a tragedy, or a death. Mostly it is only in the face of mutual helplessness and sorrow, at funeral, that we are capable of forgetting our differences, putting away our outer garments, and seeing each other as brothers and sisters.

It seems it has never been much different. In the biblical story of Job, we see that it is only when Job is completely down and out, when he is shorn of every outer thing that he can cling to, that he finally sheds his outer garment and utters the timeless line: "Naked I came from mother’s womb, and naked I go back!"

We need to be careful what kind of clothing we put on so that the pain of Job is not required to remove it.


Easter Sunday


Short Reflection for Easter Sunday (B)

Readings: Acts 10: 34. 37-43; Colossians 3: 1-4; John 20: 1-9

Selected Passage: "Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believerd; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must riae from the dead.” (John 20: 8-9)

Meditation:  Jesus is, truly, Risen. Alleluia! With Jesus' resurrection we now have the guarantee that, in the end, good shall prevail over evil; life over death; and grace over sin.  Yes, if we have died with Jesus, we, too, shall rise with him.

Easter Blessings to one and all!


DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1.    Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2.   Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips. 
3.   Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…